Artist: Sheila Rodriguez
Exhibition: Were We Even Here
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery East
Media: Mixed Media- embroidery, yarn, oil paint, furniture
This week I had the pleasure of meeting Sheila Garret Rodriguez. Sheila is currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts in Fiber Art and has her Bachelors in Drawing and Painting. Sheila is based in Los Angeles and has moved over 30 times in her life so far. This consistent movement of homes inspired her installation.
Sheila’s installation is called Were We Even Here consists of embroidery, oil on canvas and window screens. Her embroidery design is of colorful flowers. They attract your attention as the rest of the installation is mostly black or white. She also has a large wooden bed fixture in the middle of the gallery. Creating the illusion of a home within the gallery. A large self portrait hangs in the center of the wall at the end of the gallery. This portrait has a house on the top of a naked backside of a body and there is wire running across the hands. At the bottom of the portrait, is the embroidery, which is a common theme throughout the installation.
Sheila was exploring the concept of “home”. What is a home? The majority of people will say their home is where they physically live, but this definition of a home is not true for all. For Sheila for example, she has moved more than 30 times so where she resides is not her home. The physical space does not define who she is. A home is a space in which you can truly and comfortably be yourself. In your home, you behave how you please and not how you should.
I was attracted to this installation because the embroidery reminded me of my Mexican heritage. The use of the embroidery for color was alluring to me. I also enjoyed the concept of her installation as the exploration of what home is. I agree with Sheila that the physical space of what you call you home does not reflect who you are, but the content of your home. My home is where I can lay all day in my pajamas. Pajamas are a true sign of comfort. My home is where my family resides and where we get to enjoy each other.